This temple is located on a main road that leads west from the old city. Constructed by King Ku Nu in 1383, the bot in this compound contains a huge 500-year-old bronze Buddha image which is surrounded by well-preserved murals depicting Buddha's life. A variety of Buddhist amulets are sold around the wihaan, which was built in 1932. However, the main attraction are the numerous gleaming white chedi that contain the remains of the royal family of Chiang Mai. These were collected from different sites in Chiang Mai and placed here at the wish of Princess Dararatsmi in 1909.
Here you will find many white chedi, where ashes of Chiang Mai nobles are kept. The main chedi is also quite spectacular. The Buddha images are impressive.
This Wat is a little away from the city centre, so not many tourists visit here. Do try and come here, as it is quite different to most of the other Wats in town.
The Monk Chat at Wat Suan Dok is a must-try. The system in place was implemented pretty well as they would ensure that at least one senior monk (typically a year 4 English major student at the nearby Buddhist university) would be around to moderate the discussion. It was rather heartwarming to watch the display of camaraderie as the senior monk would patiently act as the go-between and encourage his juniors to speak up.
There was a flurry of exchange of people at my table as some monks had to return to their wats. Things started to pick up when two fresh participants sat down and our conversation somehow digressed to their extra-curricular activity as DJs. Apparently, the Buddhist University had set up their very own radio station to improve their students' speaking skills and exchange ideas about Buddhism. This radio station was established in early 2005 and its programmes can be broadcast to listeners who live within 15km from Wat Suan Dok!
Intrigued and excited, I asked them if I could have a look around their radio station. They readily obliged and brought me to the building across the room where Monk Chat was held. The DJs on that day welcomed me sincerely and before I knew it, I was declared as their "special guest" for their Easy Talk programme, which was scheduled between 6 to 7pm.
What I found most impressive was that the group of monks assembled before me came from various countries such as Laos, Cambodia, India, Bangladesh and of course, Thailand. Talk about a myriad of nationalities! It was then that I really appreciated how Chiangmai was a centre for aspiring Buddhists from Southeast Asia and beyond.
It was initially nerve-wracking for me, for i was afraid of sounding silly on air. But the friendly monks were so enthusiastic about finding out about Singapore that my inhibitions disappeared. I felt proud to be an unofficial ambassador for my nation and have this engaging exhange of ideas. All in all, one of the highlights of my trip.
The group of small white chedi-like monuments next to Pra Borom Thart Chedi is the cemetery of the Lanna Royal family. Princess Dararassami, one of King Rama the fifth's consorts, wanted to have a place where the ashes of the Lanna Royal family members could be kept in the same area. She finally chose Wat Suan Dok for this purpose and the monuments were established in B.E. 2452 (1909AD). The ashes of Lanna Royal family and relatives, including the Princess' ashes, are housed in each monument.
This was our first wat visit in Chiang Mai. It is located on town, but more at the outskirts, at Suthep road. This wat was meant to keep a holy Lord Budha relic, but the relic divided into two pieces, so at Wat Suan Dok is worshipped one of the pieces, and the other one is kept at Wat Doi Suthep. Most of the remains of royal family of Chiang Mai were collected from several locations in the city and brought here, to the main section of the temple. The wat itself is a complex of several white chedis and one main (and bigger) golden chedi. We were told that afternoon hours are beautiful here to take pics, but we visited the place on a cloudy day, so we missed the light!
Esta fue el primer templo que visitamos en Chiang Mai. Esta situado en la ciudad, pero mas bien en las afueras, en la carretera de Doi Suthep. Este templo estaba destinado a contener una reliquia sagrada de Lord Buda, pero la reliquia se dividio en dos partes, asi que en Wat Suan Dok se venera una de las partes y la otra se conserva en Wat Doi Suthep. Los restos de gran parte de la familia real de Chiang mai fueron recogidos desde distintos puntos de la ciudad y traidos aqui, a la principal seccion del templo, que sirve como lugar de enterramiento. El templo en si mismo es un complejo de varias estupas blancas y ona principal (y mas grande) estupa dorada. Nos dijeron que las horas de la tarde son muy bonitas aqui para tomar fotos, pero visitamos el lugar en un dia nublado, asi que nos perdimos la luz.
This temple built in 1373 is best known for its large whitewashed chedis framed by views of Doi Suthep. There is also an royal graveyard adjacent to the temple. Inside you'll find several large golden buddha statues, as well as an impressive array of burning candles and incense.
Bottom-line: A nice wat, though not particularly distinguished from the other temples in Chiang Mai.
Wat Suan Dok is located at the eastern part of the outer city along Suthep Road. It is advisable to take a songthaew to visit this wat rather than brave the summer afternoon heat to walk there (which I did so to go there) but decided to take a songthaew back.
The chedis at the Wat look like they have been repainted fresh white recently. I have been there in year 2001 when the chedis looked rather old and unsightly.
This is also a nice wat located right in Chiang Mai city. There are many monks and Ceylon style chedis. Here you have a great chance of interacting with the numerous monks. Many foreigners are hesitant to speak with monks, but don't be, they love to talk about anything, from life to storytelling, to just practicing their English. This wat is also a must see!
There are so many wats in Chiang Mai,with the obvious exception of Doi Suthep, its hard to recommend one in particular. I'm making a note of this one more because it is SO different to the others.
It's a little way out of town (along the Thanon Suthep opposite the hospital and medical institutions) but because of this, few tourists makethe effort (we spent about 3/4 hours out there relaxing with a book and hardly saw any other Europeans: a mini bus with 6-7 Japanese turned up and stayed about 15 minutes). It is essentially a site full of white stupas of various sizes and shapes (alongside a huge, uninteresting, modern wihaan (hall/shrine)). But it forms part of a Buddhist college, so many monks wander round the site, many stopping to talk to you. Behind the site is a little part of an 'everyday' Chiang Mai 'suburb' and is interesting to wander through.